First American Financial Corp.’s $350 million acquisition of fintech provider Docutech from Serent Capital expands First American’s digital offerings to real estate lenders. Docutech is well-known to home buyers and those refinancing mortgages. Anyone who has bought a home recently or refinanced a mortgage has probably used Docutech to e-sign documents from the lender, especially in Covid. Docutech provides the technology mortgage lenders use to deliver mortgage and settlement services online, essential tools in the era of Covid quarantines. Serent invested in the company in 2016.

Collaborative E-Closing Tech
Zillow, StreetEasy and other websites have transformed the first stages of the home buying process for consumers. And these days, it’s easy to apply for a mortgage online. But, it’s been more challenging for lenders to move the complex closing process to the virtual world. Lenders and lender-based technologies have not been able to solve these challenges alone, according to the Raymond James investment bankers who worked on the deal. The combination of First American Financial Corp. (NYSE: FAF) and Docutech reflects the importance of digital collaboration between lenders and settlement providers. Docutech, founded in 1991, helps financial institutions quickly and accurately provide regulatory-compliant loan documents for mortgage and home equity lending. The company’s software reaches more than 175 lenders. First American has made deals in the past. In October, the company agreed to buy mortgage subservice provider ServiceMac.

Digital Transformation
“The Docutech acquisition demonstrates our ongoing commitment to invest in and grow our core business,” said Dennis Gilmore, CEO of First American, when the deal was announced. “It also reflects our dedication to improving the home buying experience and driving the digital transformation of the real estate settlement process. Together, we’re uniquely positioned to provide collateral file management from the inception of the mortgage process through post-closing, which will help accelerate the evolution of real estate closings.”